Today was a “full house” day. I drove home from school this afternoon with three extra kids in the car. The last one was picked up at 5:30, and two hours later soccer players and college “foster daughters” started trickling in. I’m not sure how many came, but it was wonderfully busy. It made me think of a journal entry I wrote last fall on another full house day. I’m pasting it in below.
God brought this folktale to mind today. There was once a poor man whose wife was not content with the size of their house. The husband went to the local wise man and asked him what to do.
“Move your sheep into the house with you,” the wise man told him.
The next week the husband was back. Things were worse. How was this supposed to help?
“Move your cow into the house with you,” he was told.
For several weeks the husband returned to the wise man. Each week the wise man told him to move another animal into the house with him and his wife until his house was filled with his chickens, his pigs, every animal they owned.
Finally one week the husband was at the end of his patience. “She says she cannot bear with the noise, with the mess, with how the entire house is filled. The house is too small for all of us to live together.”
“Move the animals out, all of them.”
The man did, and when he came back the next week, he said, “Oh, our house is so clean and big and spacious. My wife is so pleased with it now.”
Well, I thought of that story today in relationship to children. We walked home from an early school dismissal (12:30) with my own four children and three others. When we got home, Shelby and Dylan from two doors down came over. Then Tristan and his brother Tray came. Finally Em’s best friend Katie joined us. In and out, in and out, the house felt like a zoo.
And then, suddenly, it was dinner time, and I was left with only my foor, Dierdre and Katie. It seemed so quiet in comparison! And in a few more minutes, when Kids Club gets out, it will just be me and the four Underwood children, and it will seem relatively sane.
I’m sure there are many reasons God gives me days like this one, and I KNOW that much of His good work for me involves my own children and the many others who enter our home, but I think that one of the reasons is to remind me that four children—well, that’s not so many. I could have 7, 8, 9. That’s chaotic, but this, just me and the four of them—well, that’s normal.